TCGA's Study of Lung Adenocarcinoma
What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer in both men and women, about 28% of all cancer deaths. In 2010, an estimated 222,520 Americans were expected to have been diagnosed with lung cancer and 157,300 were expected to have died from the disease.1 The prognosis for lung cancer is poor; most lung cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced cancer and only 16% of patients will survive for five years after their diagnosis. In this work, TCGA researchers studied the most common type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancers. Specifically, the subtypes are called lung adenocarcinoma and lung squamous cell carcinoma. Additional information on lung cancer.
What have TCGA researchers learned about lung adenocarcinoma?
- Found further evidence that lung adenocarcinoma has a high rate of mutations compared to other cancers.
- 76% of cases studied harbored activation of a variety of receptor tyrosine kinase pathways, which alter signaling and causes increased cell proliferation. The activation may be caused by:
- 18 significantly mutated genes, including previously known drivers KRAS, EGFR, and BRAF
- Novel oncogenic drivers, such as tumor suppressor NF1, which normally keep receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in check
- The cancer can be categorized into three distinct subtypes based on gene expression data:
- Proximal proliferative, proximal inflammatory, and terminal respiratory unit
1American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2010. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, Inc. 2010.